FORT LAUDERALE - Congressman Alcee L. Hastings made the following statement on the extension and re-designation by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals in the United States:
“I applaud the administration’s decision to extend and re-designate TPS for Haitian migrants in this country prior to the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010.
“At a time when Haiti faces a delicate political transition and remains in the midst of a fragile recovery, TPS is a vital part of Haiti’s rebuilding. Not only is the country simply unable to take in what would amount to thousands of repatriated individuals, but TPS beneficiaries are able to legally work and provide the remittances that serve as a lifeline to their families back home and bolster the sputtering Haitian economy.
“As I commend the administration for its decision to extend TPS, I pledge to continue the fight to end double standard immigration policies as they pertain to Haitian migrants. I have been actively engaged in calling for TPS of Haitian nationals for years and have continuously called upon current and previous administrations to address this matter. Prior to DHS’s initial designation, I authored key legislation, the Haitian Protection Act, which would have designated Haitian nationals in the United States as eligible for TPS.
“However, TPS is only the first step toward bringing equity to our immigration system. Though it has remained largely silent on this matter, it is imperative that the administration take steps to address the thousands of individuals suffering in Haiti who have played by the rules yet languish for years as a result of visa backlogs.
“It is my sincere hope that this welcome announcement is joined by a renewed commitment by this administration to the long-term sustainable recovery of our neighbor. A secure and thriving Haiti is integral to the stability and prosperity of our entire region.”